We hope you’ve been having a blessed and amazing time these past few days, with family or close friends! We also hope you’ve been using this time to reflect on the year behind us and put foundations for what is to come. Stay healthy, exercise and go to the gym more, spend less time mindlessly scrolling, rekindle old friendships, spend more time with your family, focus on career development… These might be at the top of your priority list, are we right? 🙂
But have you stopped to think about some of the digital goals and milestones as well? As you spend so much time online, doing all sorts of things, it’s only natural to add some of the “digital” new year’s resolutions to the list. We say you start with your personal website and improve your online presence in general.
The Importance of Having a Personal Website
Let’s say you have listed finding more clients, a new job or climbing up the corporate ladder as one of your new year’s resolutions. Let’s face it – the competition you face is fierce. What happens when a recruiter or prospective client googles you? Are you aware of what they will find?
The first impression is all that counts, and today it most often happens online. You don’t want to leave that first impression to chance, nor your social media accounts and everything people can find there.
You need to take control over your online narrative. One of the best ways to do so is by creating a platform that you own and that gives you a full liberty of self-expression. This is how you can tell the world your story and who you are as a person, explain how and why you became passionate about that thing you are doing and show your skills and talents – all on your own terms!
In research about linking personal websites and career success, 84% of respondents reported that they have received tangible benefits from having a personal website. Be it getting new job offers, attracting new customers, or getting recognized as a competent professional in the industry – benefits are indeed many. Moreover, when we talked to some of the most prominent personal branding experts and asked them for insider tips they all emphasized how important personal branding is in the context of job hunting.
So, now that we have a solid understanding of the “why”, here are some of the ideas of what to focus on while working on your website.
1. Brush Up That “About Me” Page
The “About Me” page is one of the most important pages on your website, yet it’s usually one of the most overlooked ones. Let’s admit it, we all tend to get a bit carried away with the overall design. Creating compelling content should be a crucial part of your efforts to achieve what you want with your website.
Your “About Me” page needs to summarize what you are and what you do in a quick read. No need to say, it has to be well-crafted. You can start by asking yourself what do you want people to know about you and what your website visitors are most likely to be interested in. Since a lot of About Me pages look the same, make it your goal this year to (re)write your page in a way that will be uniquely your own. Put the reader first, use clear but entertaining language, and make sure to communicate what visitors want to know.
If you feel like it, you can experiment with the video content in addition to the text. Create a quirky short video that will highlight your personality, showcase your charisma, and emphasize your talents and skills. This might be a lengthy process but it can be fun and also lead you to experiment and learn new things – just what the doctor ordered for this new year, right? 🙂
2. Work On Its Design
Any interesting projects you’ve worked on in the last year or so? Make sure to feature them. Add the information about big clients you’ve collaborated with. Provide visual samples of your work.
If you love making videos, by all means, incorporate that in the new version of your website! Plus, by adding this “motion picture” element you’ll sure make your website visitors stay for a while longer and explore what you have to offer!
The good thing is that you don’t need to know how to code to do this – there are many affordable and even free website builders you can use. So just roll up your sleeves and get to work. 😉 And if so happens that you need some additional inspiration, here are some of the examples of personal website designs that have hit the nail on the head. 🙂
Read More: Connect the Best of Your Work with your Name
3. It’s Not Mobile-First? Make It So.
The mobile experience has been important for some years now, and guess what? It’s here to stay! So far, 51.65% of global internet traffic comes from a mobile device, so you see now why all the excuses that you don’t have time to think about it are no longer acceptable.
Most website builders will have all its elements pre-made to look good on mobile devices. However, you always need to check if everything is working as it should for yourself. And if you are designing the website on your own, here are some of the things you can do to give your website visitors a good mobile experience:
- Think about how your visitors use the website on mobile (i.e. do they use voice control to search the site);
- Pay attention to the content you post, it’s on your website for a purpose and you want it to be showing on all screen sizes;
- Make sure there are no unnecessary design elements to distract the visitors;
- Think about the loading speed and don’t overshare “heavy” photos or video (Google speed test can help with this).
If you already implemented all of the above, you can still do a little test to reassure yourself that everything is in order and working well. Google mobile-friendly test can show you lots about how your website is performing overall on mobile. Most importantly it will give you a report of what is not working as it should and give you the opportunity for improvement.
4. Increase the Number of “Gigs” with a Social Proof Element
If you are somebody who is providing services to your visitors (i.e. a designer), you might want to consider adding testimonials of your happy clients to your website. Let’s face it, you can talk all you want about how good you are and how innovative your work is but if you don’t have someone to back up that story you are going nowhere.
Just think about it, how often do you buy something online without previously checking out what others have said about that product or service? Rarely if ever, right? The same principle applies to personal websites.
When used effectively, testimonials can drastically improve the number of requests you get for your work. So don’t you think it’s about time you start leveraging it on your own website? 🙂
5. Add Social Channels and a Quirky Contact Page
Social media platforms, in general, can serve as a great tool to reinforce your personal brand, share your expert thoughts and advice, and reach new audiences. For example, platforms such as Dribbble, GitHub and Behance can help you showcase your work in more depth. So if you already haven’t added social media links to your personal page, it’s about time you do so!
Next, a contact page is one of the key elements of any good website. Even though there may not be much text on it – every word counts. After all, you want people to want to contact you! On top of that, create a personalized email address. It’s one of the best ways to appear credible and stand out at the same time.
6. Blog or Vlog, But Share Your Thoughts
This is worth stating again – whether you like it or not, people form their opinion of you based on the content they find about you online. Writing blog posts or recording videos is your most powerful weapon when it comes to sharing your ideas and values.
Creating your own content, in a format that works best for you, can help you share your experiences, expert tips and tricks, and advice on the matters you find interesting. On the other side, it can help people learn about your personality and way of thinking.
If you decide to add a blog/vlog section to your website, make sure to approach it strategically. It’s really not fun to accustom your audience to publishing once a week and then stop out of the blue. And while in your state of enthusiasm it may not seem as likely to happen to you, it still tends to happen more often than not. Instead, plan thoroughly, create a content editorial, and stick to the plan as much as you can. This way not only will you keep and grow your visitors base, but you will also grow some of your skills and learn a lot of new things along the way!
If you need more tips and advice on this matter, make sure to check out our free ebook “How To Start A Blog” that covers the topic from A to Z.
7. Think About SEO
Each day we witness so many new websites come to life. Your competition is increasing and will continue to do so in the future. This is why you need to rethink your content strategy and dig into that search engine optimization work you’ve been putting off for too long. Here are some of the things to pay attention to in order to ensure prospective visitors can find you on the first page of the Google search:
- focus on multiple content types and put your primary focus on what matters to your audience,
- create accurate page titles – they give a signal about the page topics,
- avoid using too many plugins or any content that will slow down the site,
- craft your text to fit the optimal length of the articles – at least 500 words, but the bigger the better in general,
- do keyword research (Google Keyword Planner has a free version you can check out; out) and insert keywords throughout the text, including H1 and H2 titles,
- pay attention to ALT tags – insert keywords in image names,
- link only trustworthy sources and don’t overdo it with the links,
- most importantly, make sure your content is worth reading.
Are You Ready?
Now that we’ve given you some more ideas for your digital resolutions list, we hope you stick to at least some of them and give your website a new look it deserves. Any progress counts!
In any case – remember: The Internet is as much real-life as are our offline lives. So whatever you do in 2020, make sure to take care of you. 🙂